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1 Samuel 29

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The Philistines Reject David

1 1Now the Philistines had gathered all their forces at 2Aphek. And the Israelites were encamped by 3the spring that is in 4Jezreel.
2 As 5the lords of the Philistines were passing on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were passing on in the rear 6with Achish,
3 the commanders of the Philistines said, "What are these Hebrews doing here?" And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, "Is this not David, the servant of Saul, king of Israel, who has been with me 7now for days and years, and since he deserted to me 8I have found no fault in him to this day."
4 But 9the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, "Send the man back, that he may return 10to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, 11lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here?
5 Is not this David, of whom they sing to one another in dances, 12'Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands'?"
6 Then Achish called David and said to him, 13"As the LORD lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that 14you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve of you.
7 So go back now; and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines."
8 And David said to Achish, "But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?"
9 And Achish answered David and said, "I know that you are as blameless in my sight 15as an angel of God. Nevertheless, 16the commanders of the Philistines have said, 'He shall not go up with us to the battle.'
10 Now then rise early in the morning 17with the servants of your lord who came with you, and start early in the morning, and depart as soon as you have light."
11 So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to 18Jezreel.

1 Samuel 29 Commentary

Chapter 29

David objected to by the Philistines. (1-5) He is dismissed by Achish. (6-11)

Verses 1-5 David waited with a secret hope that the Lord would help him out of his difficulty. But he seems to have been influenced too much by the fear of man, in consenting to attend Achish. It is hard to come near to the brink of sin, and not to fall in. God inclined the princes of the Philistines to oppose David's being employed in the battle. Thus their dislike befriended him, when no friend could do him such a kindness.

Verses 6-11 David scarcely ever had a greater deliverance than when dismissed from such insnaring service. God's people should always behave themselves so, as, if possible, to get the good word of all they have dealings with: and it is due to those who have acted well, to speak well of them.

Cross References 18

  • 1. 1 Samuel 28:1
  • 2. 1 Samuel 4:1; Joshua 12:18
  • 3. Judges 7:1
  • 4. Joshua 17:16
  • 5. Joshua 13:3
  • 6. 1 Samuel 28:1, 2
  • 7. [1 Samuel 27:7]
  • 8. [Daniel 6:5]
  • 9. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 10. 1 Samuel 27:6; 1 Samuel 30:1
  • 11. [1 Samuel 14:21]
  • 12. 1 Samuel 18:7; 1 Samuel 21:11
  • 13. See 1 Samuel 20:3
  • 14. 2 Samuel 3:25; 2 Kings 19:27; Psalms 121:8; Isaiah 37:28
  • 15. 2 Samuel 14:17, 20; 2 Samuel 19:27
  • 16. Joshua 13:3
  • 17. [1 Chronicles 12:19, 22]
  • 18. Joshua 17:16

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of David's going forth with the armies of the Philistines, 1Sa 29:1,2; of his being objected to by the princes of the Philistines, who insisted upon his being sent back, 1Sa 29:3-5; of the report Achish made of it to David, and the discourse that passed between them upon it, 1Sa 29:6-10; whereby David had a way unexpectedly opened for him to be freed from this service, which he gladly embraced, 1Sa 29:11.

1 Samuel 29 Commentaries